The power of fo­cus

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - FRONT PAGE -

Most of us go through our day to day lives not rec­og­niz­ing the power of fo­cus. If we’re lis­ten­ing to the news, and some­thing catches us, we fo­cus on it. If we’re stand­ing in line and there’s a grumpy pa­tron in front of us, we tend to fo­cus on them. If traf­fic is bad go­ing to work, this tends to hold our fo­cus for the en­tire com­mute.

If Face­book, Twit­ter or some so­cial me­dia event catches our eye, we fo­cus there. If our boss was in a bad mood, we com­plain to our co-work­ers and we keep fo­cus­ing on it. If our chil­dren are up­set, we of­ten fo­cus on their up­sets. When our chil­dren com­plain in the face of a world that’s blessed and full of won­der­ful op­por­tu­ni­ties, we fo­cus on it.

In my mind, a thought arises about how badly I was treated as a child, and I fo­cus upon it. A few mo­ments later a thought arises about the mis­takes I made yes­ter­day, or last week, or last month, or last year, and now I fo­cus there.

What Takes Our Fo­cus…Steals Our Life.

It is crit­i­cal to un­der­stand that thoughts and events will arise over which we have no con­trol. We’re driv­ing the car, and boom….a thought arises. We’re on the phone, and the world in­trudes with alerts, commentary and crit­i­cism. Ev­ery­where we turn, our fo­cus is be­ing directed and taken from us.

Of­ten, we can’t con­trol the events that show up, and we can’t con­trol the thoughts that arise from those events. Events hap­pen…and thoughts just come about. And then, we fo­cus on that.

Life will con­tin­u­ally present it­self in a way to ab­sorb our at­ten­tion. And then, time passes while we fo­cus on that event or thought…and we have just sur­ren­dered a bit of time.

And what is a bit of time …but a bit of our lives?

And bit by bit our lives are now con­sumed, as our fo­cus is directed and taken with­out so much as a mo­ment of re­sis­tance. In many ways, it can ap­pear as if we chose it. But in re­al­ity, we did not.

This fo­cus rob­bing process has crept into our lives like the Tro­jan horse. It ap­pears as one thing, yet it proves to be an­other.

It’s Time to Fight for What You Want to Fo­cus On!

How do you feel about this life? How do you feel about the world we live in? How are you feel­ing right now?

I ask be­cause we typ­i­cally ex­pe­ri­ence the ef­fects or feel­ings that flow from where we have put our fo­cus over time. If our fo­cus has ha­bit­u­ally shifted to the neg­a­tive, the doubt­ing, the cyn­i­cal or sad, then our lives tend to re­flect that ha­bit­ual fo­cus. (This is ob­vi­ous…right?)

So, in short, we stand where we are to­day as the ac­cu­mu­lated ef­fect of what we have fo­cused upon. And yet, few of us have taken a care­ful look at what we ha­bit­u­ally fo­cus upon.

To­day, I sug­gest a fresh start. Make a choice about what will get your fo­cus, and then set out a course to en­sure that this hap­pens. Let’s con­sider a few sim­ple ideas:

• Start the day with laughter, by watch­ing hi­lar­i­ous videos

• Leave for work 15” early, so no traf­fic takes your joy.

• Shut down so­cial me­dia that does not uplift or in­spire you.

• Choose 3 em­pow­er­ing ques­tions to ask your­self be­fore get­ting out of bed.

• Set the in­ten­tion to smile to­day…re­gard­less of other’s moods.

• Be dili­gent of the neg­a­tive, the pes­simist…and walk away.

There are dozens of ways for you to hi­jack your own fo­cus, based upon what you want. Con­sider what you would like and re­solve to move to­ward this to­day. Sim­ple chose it and pre­de­ter­mine how to hi­jack your own at­ten­tion in the di­rec­tion you seek. This is key.

You can in­sert your own Tro­jan horse in your life, but this time fill it will al­lies that keep you on track. The phone and all its au­to­matic­ity and apps, can re­mind you, mo­ti­vate you and sup­port you on this path.

And so, the point of all this is to re­mem­ber: What just got your fo­cus just stole a bit of your life. Was it worth it? Was it a good ex­change? If you could do it over, would you give it that much time? And, how many times have you given up your fo­cus with­out so much of a sec­ond thought?

So, is it time to be more thought­ful about what is wor­thy of your fo­cus…and your life?

Dr. Randy Cale, a Clifton Park-based par­ent­ing ex­pert, au­thor, speaker and li­censed psy­chol­o­gist, of­fers prac­ti­cal guid­ance for a host of par­ent­ing con­cerns. His web­site, www.Ter­ri­ficPar­ent­ing. com, of­fers free par­ent­ing guid­ance and an email news­let­ter. Read­ers can learn more by re­view­ing past ar­ti­cles found on the web­sites of The Sarato­gian, The Record and The Com­mu­nity News. Sub­mit ques­tions to DrRandyCal­[email protected]

Dr. Randy Cale, a Clifton Park-based par­ent­ing ex­pert, au­thor, speaker and li­censed psy­chol­o­gist, of­fers prac­ti­cal guid­ance for a host of par­ent­ing con­cerns. His web­site, www.Ter­ri­ficPar­ent­ing. com, of­fers free par­ent­ing guid­ance and an email news­let­ter. Read­ers can learn more by re­view­ing past ar­ti­cles found on the web­sites of The Sarato­gian, The Record and The Com­mu­nity News. Sub­mit ques­tions to DrRandyCal­[email protected] com

Dr. Randy Cale

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